As is often pointed out, the plural of anecdote is not data. The fact that the most powerful men may be more powerful than the most powerful women does not mean that the average man must therefore be more powerful than the average woman.

The Happy Feminist

The wage gap?


Number of female vs. male politicians?


The 'far more men than women get maimed or killed on the job' gap?

I have to admit that I am not ready to get into the 'wage gap' jousting matches. I'm basically agnostic on the issue, although I strongly suspect that there IS, in fact, discrimination against women — or, actually, to be more precise — discrimination in favor of aggressive and highly competitive people in the workplace. Men are indoctrinated to be aggressive and highly competitive, which shows up as a plus in many of their paychecks and a debit in their coronary arteries and emotional lives.

At the same time, I suspect the extent of that male/female gap is exaggerated and that the nature of compounding influences ignored. For example, this quote from an article entitled "Womenomics 101" (h/t Jill@Feministe) suggests a different 'wage gap' than the one often cited and indicates that it is not gender, per se, that accounts for most of it:

Karen Kornbluh notes that women without children make 90 percent of what their male counterparts earn, but working mothers earn less than three quarters of what men make.

That 90 percent figure came back to me when I read Ampersand's series on the wage gap. He argues strongly that there IS discrimination against women, BTW, but he also acknowledges that men tend to work longer hours than women ... about 10% longer (so stated in part IV of Amp's series). So, when looking only at gender (and removing the compounding influence of parenthood), you find that men work 10% longer (in far more hazardous occupations) ... and make 10% more money. Huh. (I'm NOT, BTW, saying this correlation is definitive, just that it's ... interesting.)

One day I will get around to reading Warren Farrell and his critics (like Amp) and try to review the studies and see if I can make heads or tails out of it all.


or, actually, to be more precise — discrimination in favor of aggressive and highly competitive people in the workplace

In favor of aggressive and highly-competitive men. We all know the term for an aggressive and highly-competitive women, one that is not applied to men who act the same way. It rhymes with "pitch".

Lynn Gazis-Sax

People are wont to comment that women hold incredible power by virtue of our sexual desirability to men

Because men, of course, are not the least bit sexually desirable to women. It's kind of weird that a "power" which pretty much goes both ways is supposed to make up for the sorts of power, status, and money that aren't nearly so evenly distributed.


I agree with mythago -- the problem is not just that men and women tend to behave differently in the workplace, but that women are judged differently, and usually negatively, for behaving the same way. I imagine this affects women in the public sphere, e.g. in politics as well.


Ballgame unless you've misstated your comment you are making a pretty grievous error in terms of the populations you are comparing.

From your comment, on average the entire population of men works 10% more hours than the entire population of women. The women without children who make 90% of what their male cohorts earn are certainly a part of that entire population but are not the whole of it and you really can't say that they overall work 10% less than men in similar professions.

For an example of why this is wrong, lets say that on average food is 10% more expensive here in New Zealand than it is in the US, you can not take that and declare that say lamb will be 10% more expensive here.

The Happy Feminist

Ballgame, it is certainly true that men are more likely to hold the more dangerous jobs. But why do you suppose that is? Consider a typical family in which the husband is a police officer and the wife is a secretary. Are men clamoring to break in to the secretarial field? Consider a typical family in which the husband is a miner and the wife is housecleaner. Are men clamoring to break in to the housecleaning trade? Is there a male version of "North Country" where men who want these typically female jobs are driven out? Who makes more money and has more power in families like the ones I have described?

Men work in more dangerous jobs than women, but those jobs are often compensated (and rightly so) with far greater pay and prestige than other jobs available for a person at that educational level. I am sure a lot of men would like to earn the same amount with less danger -- but that's a class and education issue, not a gender issue.

The Happy Feminist

The real point is that if women are indeed so powerful by virtue of sex appeal, why don't women run more of society's institutions? Why don't women have more money? I don't think the reasons for the wage gap matter so much as the fact that it exists.

Ballgame, do you really think that women have more material power in society than men do and, if so, do you think it is a power derived from sex appeal?

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